Posted in family, grandchildren, retirement, rural life

Week(end) at Bernie’s

For years the guys at work teased me about having a Weekend at Bernie’s. About 5 years ago I finally watched the movie. Dead guys weigh a lot more than he did is all I’m going to say on that subject. As to a real weekend at Bernie’s…spoiler alert. No one died. No one was even spoilt!

Now let me digress for a long minute or so it will seem as the background unfolds.

I have a few vague memories of my maternal grandparents. They lived in the “city” and I remember that we went there to stay one summer. I would have been 4 (because Grampa died when I was 5) and I think we stayed there because my brother was having speech therapy for the week? I recall oatmeal for breakfast at this tiny table, the Nat swimming pool in the afternoon and the back garden in the cool morning. Unlike my older cousins I do not remember walking in Crescent Park with grampa nor do I remember the corner fish and chip shop. I do remember than my Gran was quite strict but I don’t know why I feel that… maybe I was being bad? The visits were few and far between although they did come down to the farm sporatically but I can’t seem to pull those memories up.

I can, with little resistance, pull out of the memory drawer my Bompa driving the tractor at our farm. I often stood alongside him or he pulled me up onto that old metal seat. My paternal grandparents had moved to the “city” ( I think I was too young to figure out they were different cities in the early memory years) but came to stay lots. My Bompa was a farmer at heart and being in the city was apparently very hard for him. He used to come “work” for my dad in seeding and harvest but my Mom told me recently that my Dad spent more time worrying about how and what he was doing than being able to appreciate that he was there. I also remember the phone call to say that he had died.

Memories of my Nanna go on much much longer. First they were in the city and then later there was a time period she lived with my Uncle and Aunt in our small town (bless their hearts!) but also in the “Lodge” back in the city. She was a character; strong opinions and a healthy dose of “attitude”. She was blind but somehow she managed to see when my brother and I got into trouble. Probably my first memory of her is getting a wallop on my backside with the broom! I was a young adult when she died but I can’t say I ever had a warm cozy relationship with her. I think it was different for my older cousins as she lived local when they were growing up.

Our children’s grandparents were a 4 hour (well 3 1/2 if you use the speed limit as a suggestion) or a 7 hour trip away. We traveled to them a lot in those years and both sets came to visit fairly regularly. Our kids spent every Easter, usually with friends in tow, at the farm. And there was often a week as well during the summer and as they got older that time was without parents. They loved it down there and they have/had (my dad’s been gone for 17 years) a much closer relationship with those grandparents that they saw regularly.

As the bear says in a story book we read often “I want more”.

I always wanted to be that gramma. You know the one where the kids beg to stay and oodles of fun is had. And lucky me that is exactly what I got. They have their own beds and set of clothes, tooth brushes and routines. Friday night has evolved into our night for the last few months with a return at some point Saturday but we also have them for other time periods as well. I feel So incredibly fortunate that these special times can happen.

Colton got to spend 4 days with Nan and grandpa and no Annabelle. He was here to go to outdoor camp alone. His first real interaction socially without big sister. Farm kid during Covid his socialization opportunities have been kind of spotty plus “she’s” always there. So off he and Nan (although one day it was Grampa as Nan had to work) went. Down the hill to outdoor camp. Back up the hill for alone play time here. I will say he’s good at keeping him self busy. Too bad he wasn’t good at keeping out of trouble! He’s a mischievous little kid for sure and thinks his instant and easy “sorry” should release him from trouble! But I wouldn’t have traded that alone time for anything. Exhausting…but priceless.

Then it was his sister’s turn. And for various reasons the Monday to Friday stay ended up being Friday to Friday. Oh we bent the rules a few times but a good time was had by all. She’s such an inquisitive child that the why or how can get a bit endless but, as grampa suggests, maybe she will grow up to be a scientist. She’s keenly mad to help with every thing you do and does a good job. Then there are times though where she says no thanks and takes herself off to play. Her imagination always finds new games and activities.

The camp thing was a piece of cake this year although it could of had a rocky start. She finally wiped out on her bike going full speed down the hill. There was blood and dirt and tears but in the end she picked herself back up and rode the rest of the way. She started the first day with a dirty shirt and a bloody mouth but went happily off to play in the woods with a “bye Nan, love you” and no backward glances. In the afternoons and evenings we rode bikes, picked saskatoons, gardeners, played on the swing, had craft time, poured concrete and overall had a wonderful time. There were Smores, camp fires, pool time and so many books.

She starts kindergarten in the fall and is very excited about it but I know that means less access to her. So this just felt incredibly priceless. And not quite as exhausting as the 3 year old.

I hope perhaps, some day when they’re older, that they will discover this blog and know how much being their Nan meant to me.

Bernie

Author:

I have had a love of the written word for my entire life. It's no surprise that eventually I found a platform where I could write. It's random; sometimes funny, occasionally sad, maybe even at times from anger and I lean towards creative photography and hands on crafts. I have a few blogs that high light these interests.

12 thoughts on “Week(end) at Bernie’s

    1. And I know it Donna. I am not sure at 5 and 3 they get it but maybe they will someday. Thanks for the comment and the compliment. It almost felt like a legacy story to them to discover someday. Bernie

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  1. I grew up with my grandparents living right next door, on the same property. I thought it was wonderful and my friends thought so too. They were envious. I think there needs to be more interactions between the generations…something humans used to do all the time, but that we have gotten away from with the modern focus on the nuclear family unit only. Good for you, Bernie.
    Deb

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    1. I wonder if the lack of connection is a North American “thing”. You grew up so blessed and now are living in the same yard as your daughter. That’s pretty cool in itself.

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  2. I love, love, love everything about this post, Bernie! The title makes me smile. The exceptional love you have for your grandchildren leaps from the pages. Going down memory lane recalling your own grandparents is poignant and special memories for your family learning snippets of history. My husband did not have grandparents around and he has often mentioned missing this special love, however it shows up.
    You also remind me how memories are affected by emotional moments, such as learning your Bompa had died. I love your description of ‘blind’ but managed to ‘see.’
    The one on one with the grandchildren is extra special and we have started incorporating this when we can.
    And, yes, I wholeheartedly feel your grandchildren will know how much you meant to them. From one Nan to another….a beautiful post! And wonderful photos!❤️

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    1. Oh Erica this comment is as heartfelt as my post. I am so glad it gave you joy to read it. Being a Nan is precious and obviously we both got lucky that way. Not everyone gets that chance so I don’t want to squander what I have. One on one time isn’t always easy to get but it’s great to have. I enjoy the photos you post of your grandchildren on Instagram. I walk a fine line as my daughter prefers very little social media exposure and so I do a lot of side or back views. With the canva collage it’s pretty small. Plus it allowed lots of choice for all those shots I took! Thanks again for the amazing comment — your way with words shone through. Perhaps you will blog again someday? Bernie

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      1. Your post definitely hit my heartstrings, Bernie. I have permission to share about the girls, yet I am cautious what I put ‘out there.’ Your kind words got me a little choked up and people like you, one of the reasons I keep dipping my toes here – quite the year around here, and lacking the emotional and physical energy, yet I want to post something soon. I wrote the Reader’s digest “Our Canada” stories almost a year ago – they plan far ahead for their articles. Always nice to connect with you, Bernie! You shine a light into a beautiful part of our country and your family. ❤️Thank you for my smiles.😀😎❤️

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      2. Sorry it’s been a tough year. I totally get how sometimes it’s too much and adding one more thing just isn’t an option. Blogging does take time and energy and my “output” of posts really depends on my mental energy. Take care of yourself. Bernie

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  3. So glad you are getting the weekend or week with the Littles, Bernie. We all want what we may have lacked in our childhood. Our trips to see Gramma and Grampa were long and short (Dad had a farm, to run after all). Good on you for being there for your kids and grandkids. Happy summer. Allan

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